Gambusia Information Night

19 Feb 2011

The ACT Government's Office of Conservation, Planning and Research aquatic scientist Matt Beitzel has had enough of mosquito fish in our urban ponds and dams.

"Gambusia (mosquito fish) are an invasive menace which were brought in from South America to control mosquito larvae. Unfortunately, they like native fish and frog eggs as well as tiny fry and tadpoles a whole lot more than mosquitoes." fumed Beitzel. "The hungry little buggers are a nightmare in our ponds, and largely responsible for the loss of frogs in many areas."Female Gambusia

"We see frogs attempting to breed in dams infested with mosquito fish." agreed Frogwatcher Damon Cusack, "but we suspect that very few young survive." Beitzel has a plan though, and needs local aquatically-oriented volunteers to assist him. He hopes to identify infested ponds and try out a new eradication technique to lower their numbers to a level where our natives have a chance. "We will need to survey ponds this summer to find out where the mosquito fish are, and how connected the dams and ponds are to other bodies of water. Their connectivity will have a lot of influence on whether or not the ponds can become easily reinfested." said Beitzel.

"In the winter I would like to employ a new mosquito fish removal technique which will require volunteer support. This has been shown in trials to be quite effective in giving the habitat back to the natives. I would love to see it work here! There is also scope for Frogwatchers and Waterwatcher who have ponds in their backyards to raise small native fish to be used for restocking," enthused Matt.

"This is the sort of partnership that Waterwatch is all about," said Upper Murrumbidgee Waterwatch Facilitator Tanya Noakes. "We will be getting the community involved in research that has a great potential to improve the aquatic habitat in our own suburbs."

If you are interested in participating, or just want to learn more about gambusia, join Matt and Tanya for a discussion of the proposed project at Macarthur House, Wattle St, Lyneham on 8 March at 7 pm.